Not too long ago, I reviewed Honda: ATV Fever for the Nintendo DS, which I thought was an average, if not suspiciously short racing game. Now Storm City Games has seen it fit to bring us a Wii version of Honda: ATV Fever, which, despite having more features than its DS equivalent, is an inferior game. The outdated graphics, poor sound, and slightly off controls all come together to make it one of the most boring games I’ve played in a long time, and it’s difficult for me to imagine people who enjoy the thrills of ATV racing sitting through this game.
The most fundamental problems with Honda: ATV Fever are with its gameplay. Though the controls aren’t great, regardless of which method you choose, using the Wii Wheel almost guarantees a loss. Opting instead for the Wiimote and nunchuck controls, however, only draws the attention away from the fact that your vehicle is controlling like a drunken ice skater to the issues inherent to the game’s basic drive-in-a-circle races. It’s very easy for your vehicle to get hung up on everything lining the track, from stray tires and guardrails to the aggressive other drivers. There isn’t anything wrong with obstacles, but when brushing up against something takes you from a comfortable lead to eighth place, it’s easy for frustration to become indifference. There’s also no real sense that you’re driving off road at any point in the game. The tracks, set in places like quarries, army bases, and abandoned mines, may look generically extreme enough to have been rejected from any skateboarding game, but driving on them feels a lot like you’re coasting along a flat paved road.
In what seems like an attempt to compensate for the dull championship races, Honda: ATV Fever does offer quite a few modes. They don’t do enough differently from each other to help matters, though. Arcade mode does little more than add checkpoints to the pre-existing tracks, which does nothing but add a slight annoyance when your second place standing is a tenth of a second short of allowing you to continue the race. There are also some fairly basic multiplayer modes, which add to the excitement of the game by allowing you to complain about how dull it all is with a friend by your side. Perhaps the most interesting of all of the game modes, however, is slalom mode, which has you racing while driving your ATV through gates. It’s a good idea, and if it were executed well, it could have been really fun. Instead, however, the fact that you have to do each slalom race eight times straight in single player mode destroys any interest it could have held, making it the most mind-numbing aspect of a game completely devoid of excitement.
Since the gameplay in Honda: ATV Fever isn’t very interesting, it would have been nice if the graphics and sound in the game stood out in some way. For the graphics, at least, this is not the case. At best, they look like an early PS2 game, with blurry textures, elements of the background that look like they were chopped out of a magazine, pallet swapped drivers, and a slight fuzzy look over the entire screen. At their worst, however, the graphics are riddled with obvious glitches, such as shadows that appear upside down when you run into a rock and shimmering blue and yellow lines that appear on the ground next to your ATV as you drive. The graphics are never bad enough that they actually distract you from the game, but if you stop and look at them, they certainly aren’t pretty.
Though it certainly doesn’t prove to be positive for the game, the sound in Honda: ATV Fever does manage to stand out. The incidental sound effects are ordinary enough, with beeps playing every time that you pass a checkpoint or a gate. Playing the game as a whole, however, sounds like you’re sitting in the middle of a construction site and watching a bad 80s action movie. Weird guitar noises and drum machines dominate the music, and the sound of the engines is fairly realistic, but maybe still a little off. It doesn’t seem like the choices made with the game’s sound were very good, but they do happen to be the most interesting part of the game.
As a full package, Honda: ATV Fever is not a very good value. There are much better racing games available on the Wii for an equally low price, and not even the achievements system half-heartedly put into place can save the replay value. It’s a sluggish and unexciting racing game that only lasts a few hours, and since it isn’t much fun for that brief period of time, it isn’t really worth playing.